5 Tips for Surviving the Mud Season
With the snow melting and the spring showers upon us, mud season has arrived. Constant moisture on hooves and lower legs can cause hoof tenderness, skin irritation, and infections. With muddy pens and pastures, horses also have a higher chance of muscle and ligament injury. To make it through this mud season clean and safe, here are five tips to get you through summer.
- Change standing areas- This is number one for a reason. Horses love to find favorite spots in their paddocks to stand. High traffic areas with heavy wet ground conditions make for the perfect conditions to create mud! Rotating pens every few days allows one area to dry. Keeping the ground as dry and firm as possible will help prevent muscle injury.
If you don’t have the option of rotating their pens, you can soak up the wetness on the ground with wood pellets. Pellets soak up more than traditional shavings. If your horses tend to stand in front of their feeder, and mud is forming there, try moving the feeder to a new location or adding an additional feeder to the pen to promote movement.
- Grooming is your friend- The more frequently you can groom, the easier it will be. Make your grooming easier by having the right tools. A body brush will help if the mud has dried. But if the mud is still wet, look for a rubber curry comb or a wet brush. If you are grooming and putting your horse back in a wet pen, try using a mud shielding powder on your horse's legs and hocks. Using a powder like this will help repel water and mud and prevent scratches and skin irritations.
- Keep your own feet dry - Tall rubber boots are best for high water areas or when it is a bit chilly. Make sure your rubber boots are in good repair and have no holes. If your spring temperatures are feeling too warm for tall boots, you can use the mudster barn shoe. It's an ankle-high slip-on shoe that's mud season worthy.
- Tail wraps- The best tip for making your grooming days easier is cleaning, detangling, and braiding your horse’s tail. If they have already gotten down and dirty in the mud pit, try this easy spray shampoo for a waterless wash. After you have brushed the tail and freed it of all knots and tangles, braid and wrap it. You can use flexible vet wrap or a fabric tail bag. Both have pros and cons, so pick the one that works best for you. The vet wrap is water-resistant and will hold for a while. Tail bags allow slightly more free movement in the tail, but most are not waterproof and can fall off if they aren't tied well.
- Bath day- When the mud is finally just too much, or you make it to the end of mud season. Your horses will love you for a good bath day! A deep cleaning to get under the layers of mud and shedding hair.
There are many ways to make this dirty time of year easier for you and your horses, and the negative impacts of keeping your horses in muddy conditions go far beyond just cleanliness.